Keir Starmer calls for more steel industry support on Sheffield visit

  • Video report by Frazer Maude.

Keir Starmer has used a trip to Sheffield to call on the government to give the steel industry more support to help it deal with the hike in energy prices.

The Labour leader visited the Finnish owned steel works Outokumpu in the city which produces over a quarter of a million tonnes of the metal every year.

There he called on the government to step in to help companies deal with the energy crisis.

He said: "If we have short term energy prices leading to long term job losses that is unforgivable for the government. So stop squabbling, get back to work and talk to the sector about the support that's needed for jobs in places like this across Yorkshire and other places. Very important jobs in a very important sector of steel."

Only last year there were oncerns that restructuring could have led to the closure of the Outokumpu plant, and the loss of 500 jobs.

Keir Starmer on a visit to a steel works in Sheffield Credit: PA

And there are still fears for the industry given the ongoing energy crisis.

Grab Alun Davies from the Community Union said: "It does seem like it's another nail in the coffin and that's why we're pushing for government now to try and do something.

"We've been asking for years through Britain We Need Our Steel, through our Save Our Steel campaign, looking for cuts to energy prices, just to compete on a level playing field. And if the government do not act we will end up collapsing."

The chancellor Rishi Sunak says he's listening to the industry's concerns, but is still reluctant to provide financial help.He said: "We're always in dialogue with businesses to understand some of the challenges they're facing, to examine solutions that people put towards us.

"But when it comes to these types of things I've been consistent actually all the way through the crisis that my firm desire is to make sure that taxpayers' money is always protected. And that should always be uppermost in our mind. "